Story By: Lissy Maruthankakuzhy
Nagpur: More than 400 students from eight schools of Nagpur spent a day together to understand Christian life and importance of prayer.
“We wanted to help the children realize that they are children of God and they ought to live according the plan of God,” said Fr K D Thomas, director of Faith Life Commission of Nagpur diocese archdiocese that organized the January 11 “Faithfest” for Catholic students living in the central Indian city.
“The program also intended to help teachers become aware that Christian faith formation is as important as school syllabus and they need to really give priority to faith formation in our schools,” Fr Thomas told Matters India.
The program’s aim, he added, was to help the children realize the importance of Christian Life; the importance of prayer in one’s life and ongoing catechesis.
Archbishop Abraham Viruthakulangara of Nagpur, in his homily, encouraged the children to listen to God’s call and answer it as the Apostles had left their trade and parents at the call of Jesus. “Do not hesitate when he calls you to be a close follower. Follow him immediately and he will bless you,” the prelate said.
The students were from grades four.
Speaking to the children on Merciful God, Bernadette, a retired teacher, explained to the children the beautiful qualities of God the Merciful Father. “God loved us so much that he sent us his Son Jesus to save us from our sins, and he gave Mary as our Mother,’ she said. The Sacraments,” she added, “point to and are channels of God’s grace for us. They work as an effective means of communication between God and His people.”
Fr Jerome Pinto, vicar general of the archdiocese, explained about how God showed his faithfulness to his chosen people of Israel.
“God the father was always with Jesus. And Jesus was faithful to his father by being obedient unto death. We see God’s faithfulness to us as he takes care f us.” He exhorted the children to be faithful to God by being good children, obeying their parents.
Joseph, another teacher, spoke to the children on Doing God’s Will and guided them in this line. “Each of us called to do God’s will,” he said. He pointed out to them how the people of the Bible — Abraham, Moses, Joseph, Mary and the apostles — fulfilled God’s will in their life.
He invited the children to seek and do God’s will in their everyday lives. “During the Year of Mercy it is God’s will that we do the seven works of Corporal Mercy,” he added.
Each school presented skit based on Gospel stories like Prodigal Son, The Lost Sheep, The Good Samaritan enabling the children to imbibe the message of the story.
Archbishop appreciated Fr K D Thomas and team who organized this program for the strengthening of the faith of the children.
The participants appreciated the program and urged the diocese to have such programs twice a year.
According Daughters of St Paul Sister Suman Tigga, director of Catholic Information Centre of the archdiocese, the response to the first such program in the archdiocese was “very good.”
“Coming together itself is a faith experience. Faithfest 2016 was a beautiful opportunity to learn about God who is merciful towards all his creatures and their response to God,” she told Matters India.